DateFebruary 28, 2019
CategoryBusiness Owner, CEO, Dallas CEO Peer Groups, Employees, Goals, Leadercast, Leads, Networking, Peer Advisory Groups, Referrals, Renaissance Executive Forums Blog, Small Business, Success, Top Executive, Trust, Value Builder System
Small businesses stay small either by choice or because they start chasing growth in the wrong places. Enabling your business to scale requires you to stay on target with the ideal customers you want to serve.
Imagine a dartboard with a bullseye, and around it is a series of wider and wider circles. The bullseye is where the people just like you hang out. They are the people (or businesses) who feel the pain of the problem your company set out to solve. They are usually your first customers that become raving fans. The further you go outside of your bullseye, the less these prospects feel that pain. So why do entrepreneurs go outside their bullseye?
When you’re in start-up mode, you’re scrambling, just trying to bootstrap your way into becoming a company. You don’t have a lot of money to invest in formal marketing, so you rely on word-of-mouth and referrals, which also means you’re often talking to people outside of your bullseye. (We’ll take almost anything to keep the lights on.)
These prospects may experience the problem you’re trying to solve, but they are slightly different (that’s why they’re not in the bullseye). They like your product or service but want a little tweak to it: customization or a different version. You don’t see the harm in making a change so you start to adjust your offering to accommodate the customers outside your bullseye.
Your new (slightly-outside-the-bullseye) customer tells her friends about how great you are, and how willing you are to listen to your customers, and she refers a prospect even further outside your bullseye who again, asks you for another tweak. Making these changes to your original product or service to accommodate customers outside your bullseye seems innocent enough at the time, but eventually, it undermines your growth.
To grow a business beyond your efforts, you need to hire employees (or build technology) that can do the work. As humans, we are usually lousy at doing something for the first time but can master most things with enough repetition.
Think about teaching a toddler how to tie his shoes. The first few attempts are usually rough. It’s a new skill and their tiny hands have never had to make bunny ears before. You break it down for the child and show them how to master each step. It can take weeks, but eventually they get it. As adults, we don’t even think about tying our shoes — we’ve mastered the skill by repetition.
The same is true for your employees. They need time to truly master the delivery of your product or service. Every time you make a tweak for a new customer outside your bullseye, it’s like changing the instructions on tying your shoelaces. It’s disorienting for everyone and leads to substandard products and services, which customers receive and are less than enthusiastic about. It also eats into the productivity and margins of your operation.
Having unhappy customers often leads the owner to step in and “fix” the problem. While some founders can indeed create the customized product or service for their new, outside-the-bullseye customer, they are making their company reliant on them in the process.
“A business reliant on its founder will stall-out at a handful of employees when the founder runs out of hours in the day.”
The secret to avoiding this plateau, and continuing to grow, is to be brutally disciplined in only serving customers in your bullseye for much longer than it feels natural. When you want to grow, the temptation is to take whatever revenue you can, but the kind of growth that comes from serving customers outside your bullseye can be a dead end.
I use the Value Builder System to help my customers refocus on the bullseye, reduce the amount of time and effort you have to invest to lead your team, and increase the value of your company.
Join me at our next CEO Learning Session to understand how this can help you too http://refdallas.eventbrite.com.
During this session, you will receive your score on the eight factors that drive your company’s value.
Sign up today or contact me for more information.
Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas
Certified Value Builder Coach
* This blog and images are based on content from the Value Builder System.